It’s that time of year: The kids are headed back to school and that means that they will be coming home with piles and piles of forms. So. Much. Paperwork.
And if you have more than one kid, you’ll have writer’s cramp by the end of the first week of school because you will have to put your phone number on at least a hundred documents.
Everywhere you turn, there’s a form to fill out.
Your kid wants to take a gymnastics class? Great, sign here. On seven different forms.
You want to volunteer in your kid’s classroom? Awesome! Just fill out these five forms and send in a sample of your hair for FBI evaluation.
Permission slips for field trips. Bake sale signups. School pictures. It never ends.
And believe me, I’m more than guilty of procrastinating when it comes to signing on the dotted line so that my kid can go ogle zebras at the zoo or so he can get his portrait taken by a photographer who manages to snap the picture right as he’s blinking.
Emergency Contact Card
You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but you would not believe the number of parents who forget or just choose to not send this form to the health office. This form puts your phone number and that of your closest contact in the nurse’s hands if and when your kid has an accident or a medical emergency. Please remember that the nurse doesn’t have your number saved in their cell phone. They need you to actually write it down so that they can call you and update you on your kid. Send it in pronto.
Health Assessment Form
Many nurses send a form home for parents to describe their child’s overall health. This is not to be nosy, but rather, it helps them work with teachers and staff to find the best classroom fit for your child. If your child is allergic to peanuts or needs easy access to a bathroom, they can carefully assess what classrooms and teachers will best suit your child’s complex needs. Obviously, they don’t have final say, but they give input when it comes to where your child will be safest and best cared for during the day.
This form admittedly catches me with my pants down every year because I always forget to schedule my kids’ physicals. But I make an effort to get their physicals done in a timely manner because nurses are mandated by state laws to make sure that kids are getting yearly physicals. Filling this form out in a timely manner makes their job easier and doesn’t tie up their time trying to track parents down and hound them for paperwork.
Vaccine preventable diseases are on the rise, and like it or not, every state has mandates on what vaccines are required by what age. In order to stay compliant with state laws, school nurses keep track of a student’s vaccines in the same way as a doctor’s office. It also helps them identify populations of children who are underimmunized and that can be helpful during cold and flu season. So fill out the form and help the nurse out. And relax: They’re not asking you to actually vaccinate your kid (though you should). They just want to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t so they can plan appropriately.
Finally, while it’s not an official form to fill out, always send a note to the nurse if your child has complex needs. School nurses can help your child navigate an asthma flare-up, a broken bone, or an emotionally difficult situation at home. The school nurse is your best ally when it comes to helping your child succeed in the classroom while dealing with any health issues, chronic or otherwise.
So when those forms come rolling in, pour a glass of wine and put the health room forms on the top of your list. It just takes five minutes to fill them out, and you’ll have a year’s worth of comfort knowing that your kid will be safe in an emergency.